Las Vegas Sun

December 15, 2018

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Jon Ralston:

Nevada GOP has natural comedic gifts

If you are in Las Vegas and want a good laugh, there are plenty of places to go: Brad Garrett. Jerry Seinfeld. Penn and Teller. Many other, lesser-known funny men and women.

But nothing — nothing! — compares to the comedy show playing daily on McLeod Drive, home of the vaudeville/slapstick act known as the Nevada Republican Party. Just when you think your sides are split over the latest pratfall, these comic geniuses outdo themselves.

If you thought their Caucus Follies or Elect a Chairman With Baggage Show were good, those were only opening acts.

Now, after the Clark County Party demanded the resignation of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, as new state Chairman Michael McDonald watched, the folks in D.C. and Boston are at their wit’s end and desirous of an organization run by sentient human beings with triple-digit IQs.

If “Seinfeld” was a brilliant show about nothing, the Goofy Old Party here is a magnificent show about everything that could go wrong, everything that could prevent Republican candidates from winning, everything that will drive the RNC and Team Romney to stock their shelves with hard liquor in one of the more critical states in the nation.

There’s no business like the state GOP’s business, like no business I know.

McDonald, who honed his suck-up skills as a city councilman, is desperately trying to regain relevance after I reported the shadow state party forming over at the Team Nevada headquarters. So Mr. Chairman tried to run away from the Clark County GOP’s resolution demanding Priebus resign, passed because the RNC chief shockingly considers Mitt Romney the presumptive nominee and won’t give Paul his due (as if anyone could).

So, when the powers that be offered to put words in McDonald’s mouth late Wednesday, he ate it up:

“The Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus has the authority to take the necessary steps to support a candidate to ensure Republicans win the presidency in November. ... Certainly we do not need to wait for Tampa before assisting our presumptive nominee.”

See, he can play the straight man, too — albeit one with punctuation problems.

McDonald is trying to exist in two worlds — pander to his Paul peeps and genuflect to Priebus and Team Romney. But his distancing act from the Clark County GOP is risible, especially because those folks made him chairman.

The pull of those who created him finally got the better of McDonald on Thursday as he went off script and put out another statement, rife with grammar and reality errors, for his Paulbearers.

It was a comedic thrill to read it. It gives me pleasure to share:

“The State Party had lost focus and suffered from a distinct lack of execution for some time now,” says McDonald. “It’s contributed to the vacuum that was created and filled by a host of people that have personal and political agendas and have contributed nothing to getting Republicans elected.”

Hmmm. So the two previous chairs, Amy Tarkanian and Mark Amodei, now a congressman, contributed nothing, eh? And is McDonald actually suggesting that the folks “running” the party now are going to contribute to getting Republicans elected, especially considering the man running the Paul campaign here, Carl Bunce, said recently on “Face to Face” that he sees little difference between President Barack Obama and Romney? Yes, the new boss is much better than the old bosses.

The release went on: “McDonald says that the State Party began implementing a door-to-door ID and voter registration program this week. He notes that while people were carrying on at last Tuesday’s Clark County GOP meeting, the State Party had a team in the field doing the hard blocking and tackling that is truly needed.”

Beyond the sophomoric and meaningless football analogy, there is not a shred of evidence the state GOP has either the money, the bodies or the skill to be “in the field” doing anything more than spouting off clichés and maybe looking for vacant land for McDonald to develop.

After listing all of his goals, McDonald concluded with this literacy-challenged statement:

“We have a tremendous plan in place and it’s already being executed by people that are very good at what they do. It’s a shame that these things have been neglected by people who should have known better. We exist to get Republicans elected, period. We are not a sandbox for general consultants or people with an ax to grind. We are a machine.”

Now that is funny stuff.

A plan? Really? Cue the guffaws. And no consultants who might actually know how to win campaigns? Genius. A machine? A Rube Goldberg contraption, perhaps.

This has to be the funniest act ever to play this city. And the audience members laughing the loudest are over on Valley View Boulevard, the home of ... the state Democratic Party.

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